Summer Reading Recommendations


At RobustWealth®, we believe that the lessons one learns outside of the workplace are just as (and sometimes more) valuable than ones we learn during the workday.  It’s not uncommon for team members to share reading recommendations over a morning coffee or laud a recent Kindle or Audible pickup during a team bike ride.

In the spirit of National Book Lovers Day, I caught up with the team to share some of our favorites. So, without further ado, here’s what we’ve been reading (and listening to):

Mike Kerins – Founder and CEO


The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim

Why Mike loves it:  A recent addition to his reading list, Mike calls this book a must-read for anyone working in and around tech.

Short Synopsis:  The Phoenix Project is the literary work of Gene Kim, an award-winning CTO, and entrepreneur who draws on his own experience to craft this true-life fiction.  It follows Bill, a process manager in the wake of a surprise promotion to CIO, as he fights to save the struggling company Parts Unlimited.  Entrenched in this compelling story of corporate redemption are rich management lessons that will leave readers with tangible takeaways 

If you like this, check out: The Goal, a transformative management novel that largely inspired The Phoenix Project. 


Chaos Monkeys by Antonio García Martínez

Why Mike loves it:  Calling it a great read for those interested in startups, Mike found that the book shares valuable perspectives for his own startup experience.

Synopsis:  Chaos Monkeys is an autobiographical work detailing Mr. Martínez’s rise as the founder of a successful startup, which he eventually sold to Twitter before accepting a role at Facebook.  The book is critically lauded for its unsweetened depictions of startup culture and Silicon Valley, quickly reaching New York Times Best Seller status. 

If you like this, check out: Mr. Martínez’s contributions to WIRED. 


Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin 


Why Mike loves it:  Working at RobustWealth, it is tough to go longer than a week without hearing a principle outlined in this book.  It helped him mold many of the strategies he employs in his daily life.


The work is the brainchild of former Navy SEALs John “Jocko” Willink and Leif Babin, who, after successfully revolutionizing the SEALs’ internal leadership training, sought to extend their knowledge to companies.  Extreme Ownership consolidates forty combined years of battle-tested leadership experience into 320 pages of strategies for self-discipline and success, with wide-spread applications for work, family, and self.  

If you like this, check out: Jocko’s podcast, chock full of motivational material and guest interviews. 


Jessica Wooke – Chief Product Officer


Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

Why Jess loves it:  Daring provided Jess with valuable lessons on owning her vulnerabilities and making it safe for others around her to be their whole, vulnerable, and true selves. These lessons have helped her and her team be better people together, which is a critical driver in being a better team together.

Synopsis:  Owner of one of the world’s most viewed TED Talks and numerous teaching honors, Brené Brown has become a leading voice on courage and leadership.

In Daring Greatly, Brown makes a surprising assertion about the nature of heroism, love, belonging, and creativity.  From 12 years of researching the manifestation of these traits and emotions in individuals, she was shocked to find that vulnerability is the common denominator.  Brown lifts the veil on vulnerability to show us how putting ourselves out there can have transformative implications for the ways we lead, work, and parent.

If you like this, check out: Any of Brown’s other three NYT Bestsellers!


Andy Cleff – Director of Product Engineering & Agility



Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders by L. David Marquet 

Why Andy loves it: Andy has a passion for helping others become leaders in their own right.  That’s why this book by Navy officer David Marquet hit home for him – because he sees countless parallels between the Captain’s insights into leadership and his own as an Agile Coach.

Synopsis: Turn the Ship Around! is a nonfiction account of Marquet’s experiences after being appointed Captain of the nuclear submarine USS Santa Fe, notoriously known as the ‘Worst Ship in the Navy,’ with a 97% of its crewmembers leaving the Navy after their first year aboard.  The book describes how Captain Marquet and his crew came to adopt a system of empowerment, where the crewmembers were encouraged to make key decisions on their own, and Marquet himself never gave orders.  Within two years, the Santa Fe was winning the Navy’s top distinctions and promoting an unprecedented number of officers to submarine command.   

If you like this, check out: Andy’s exclusive interview with the author, David Marquet:


Frank Macinsky – VP, Marketing


Start With Why by Simon Sinek

Why Frank loves it: Sinek’s take provides interesting food for thought for marketers, keepers of company culture, and entrepreneurs looking to scale.

Synopsis:  Start With Why presents the hypothesis that all great companies focus on WHY they do what they do, not the “What” or “How.” Sure, what you do and how you do it are important, but those who change the world focus their efforts with a strong sense of “Why.” The concept is summed up by Sinek as ‘The Golden Circle.’


  • What – anyone can copy features or product
  • How – anyone can build the same team, production facilities, or distribution network
  • Why – not everyone can replicate unique culture and purpose

The rest of the book works to support the hypothesis through personal examples, tangible case studies, and simplified human biology.

If you like this, check out: Sinek’s slightly dated, but still ultra-relevant TED talk by the same title.

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